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Mokkei - 木鶏

This is actually a tale from Zhuangzi (莊子) about an Emperor who had a passion for cock-fighting. The Emperor desired to have the best gamecock there is, one that will not lose went to Sheng one day. He was the man who raised gamecocks for the Emperor, and was ordered to prepare an unbeatable gamecock for the Emperor. Sheng asked the Emperor to return in ten days. When time came, the Emperor asked Sheng if the gamecock is ready. Sheng replied, "The rooster is too proud, eager and arrogant. No, it is not ready."

The Emperor waited another ten days before asking Sheng about the gamecock. Sheng again replied, "No yet, as it is still too jumpy and overly eager to engage at the site of another rooster."

Another ten days passed, the Emperor was still without a winning gamecock asked Sheng again on his progress. Sheng reported, "the rooster is very quick to respsond and very prideful. It is not ready yet."

Day forty, the Emperor again inquired about the gamecock. Sheng replied with some enthusiasm this time, "It is almost ready. Although it still crows a bit, but it no longer reacts to its surroundings as if it was made of wood. It has all the qualities needed to be the best gamecock. Other gamecocks will be frightened just being near it and will no doubt run off without a fight." The comparison of a swordsman to this story of the wooden rooster is not farfetched. The state of one's mind often dictates one's behaviour. Be powerful as a raging hurricane, but have the mind calm as the eye of the storm.

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